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Boosting Lifeline WA’s digital support strategy

Mineral Resources (MinRes) has announced a $600,000 partnership with Lifeline WA that will fund the training of 300 volunteer Digital Crisis Supporters over three years.

The partnership comes as Lifeline WA reported that demand for digital crisis support over the past five years had increased by 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Each month, via SMS and online chat, Lifeline WA handles between 5,000 and 6,000 conversations with people reaching out in their time of need, many on the edge of suicide.

The digital service is available for anyone to use, but currently about half of the people who reach out for crisis support via SMS or chat are under the age of 25 and 40 per cent of those are under 16.

People living with disabilities and those experiencing family and domestic violence are also among those reaching out to Lifeline WA via its digital service.

Lifeline WA Chief Executive Officer Lorna MacGregor said the MinRes partnership was critical to the expansion of the digital team so that the organisation could ensure no call for help went unanswered.

“We are enormously grateful to MinRes for enabling us to train many more crisis supporters when demand for our services continues to grow at an alarming rate year on year,” she said.

“Offering crisis support to the WA community via text or online chat, as well as by phone, is helping to ensure we are there anytime, anywhere, for those who need us.”

While Lifeline WA thought it might see a decline in people reaching out by telephone when its digital service first launched in late 2021, calls have continued to rise.

MinRes Head of Mental Health Chris Harris said MinRes considered mental health as important as physical health and had introduced programs to encourage a culture where it is spoken about openly and support is easily accessible.

“We’re very committed to what’s called a ‘collective impact’. That means partnering with other WA organisations, such as Lifeline WA, so that together we share the burden of a particular issue and work together on solutions,” Chris said.

“The team at Lifeline WA save lives every day and their services are so important at Christmas, when we know mental health challenges can be most acute.”

Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or online chat at lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat